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Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears by…

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears (original 1975; edition 1980)

by Verna Aardema

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2,7012012,192 (4.1)10
Title:Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears
Authors:Verna Aardema
Info:Scholastic (1980), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:ETEC 525

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Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears by Verna Aardema (1975)


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In this Caldecott Medal winner, Mosquito tells a story that causes a jungle disaster. "Elegance has become the Dillons' hallmark. . . . Matching the art is Aardema's uniquely onomatopoeic text . . . An impressive showpiece."
-Booklist, starred review.
  Sara1211 | Oct 17, 2016 |
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears is a book which tells of an African legend. A mosquitoe tells a lie to a lizard and because he gets annoyed he puts sticks in his ears, which ends up causing a chain of scared animals. One of those animals that gets scared kills a baby owlet and because the baby owlet is killed the momma owl will not wake the sun. This causes the King lion to find out why the momma owl will not wake the sun. Upon an investigation he finds out the reason why and realizes that it was the mosquitoes fault. The mother owl finds out the reason and finally rises the sun but the mosquitoe hides and when he finds out what happened he continues to whine in people's ears to see if everyone is still angry with him, that is why mosquitoes buzz in people's ears.

I really enjoyed this book because of the pictures and it shows how something you do can affect so many along the way. This book shows that even one simple thing that we do can affect so many even if we don't realize it. I like how the pictures in the book reflect the story and the colors that were used were very well blended.

One extension that you can do with this book is have the children name what other baby animals may be called. Have them choose a baby animal and make a baby book to describe that baby animal. Another extension that can be done with this story is to have the students tell about a story of something that they have done that has been told differently by someone that they know. One more extension that could be done in class is to have each student talk about a legend that they might know and discuss it in class together.
  Tbrister | Sep 18, 2016 |
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears by Verna Aardema is a classical West African tale. This book is about a mosquito that tells an iguana a lie. The iguana does not want to hear anymore lies so he puts sticks in his ears. The iguana does not talk to the python, so the python thinks the iguana is plotting something against him. The python went to hide from the iguana in the rabbit's hole. The rabbit ran out of her hole and scared the crow. The crow startled the monkey, and the monkey fell inside of an owl's nest. When the monkey fell, he killed a baby owlet. The Mother Owl found out, and she would not wake the sun. All of the animals in the forest were worried because the sun did not come up. The King Lion of the forest called an all animal council. The King Lion found out what had happened to the baby owlet. The blame eventually landed on the mosquito, however, the mosquito had listened to the council hiding under a leaf. No one knew where the mosquito was. This is the reason mosquitoes buzz in people's ears, because of their guilty conscience. When she buzzes in people's ears she asks them "is everyone still angry at me?" They give her their answer when they squish her.

Personal Reaction:
I enjoyed this book very much. It shows how word spreads and how blame is easily placed on the wrong person. The illustrations are very interesting in this book. The mosquito is a round character in this book because she encounters conflict and is changed by it. The theme of this book is a message that creates understanding about life, human nature, and elements of society. The mosquito lying to the iguana is the reason this book has an underlying theme. Because this is a West African tale book, the illustrations go along with that theme. The illustrations are very mosaic and look like they have been pieced together with tons of detail. I would use this book in my classroom to show students how blame can be placed on the wrong person very easily.

Classroom Extensions:
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears by Verna Aardema is a book I would use in a younger elementary classroom. I would print out pictures of the illustrations in the book and give one to each student. I would then pass out a large piece of black or white construction paper and different sizes and colors of pieces of tissue paper. I would then have my students create an animal of their choice using the choppy pattern of the illustration from the book. Another activity I would have students do, is to make a large literary poster board of the different animals from the book and what word was used to describe them. This will help students to understand descriptive adjectives and how to classify them. ( )
  thejennalane | Sep 12, 2016 |

This story is a West African Tale. It was created to explain why mosquitoes are disliked so much. The story starts with a mosquito telling an iguana a nonsense story, which annoys the iguana so he puts sticks in his ears and walks away. However, because he can't hear anything, he ignores his friend the python. This makes the python worried that he will do something mean to him, so he hides. When he hides, he goes into a rabbit hole. The rabbit that was in the hole doesn't want to be eaten so he runs away. A monkey sees the rabbit running away and knows their is danger nearby, so the monkey warns the other monkeys and as the monkey runs away it breaks a tree limb that falls on an owl nest. The limb kills an owlet. The mom Owl comes home to find her owlet dead and is saddened. It is her job to wake the sun each morning and now she doesn't want to. So this causes a problem for the other animals and the King Lion calls a meeting to find out what happened. They go through each other animals to blames the one before them. Iguana never comes to the meeting because he still has the sticks in his ears. So when he finally makes it in front of King Lion he tells him about the mosquito. Everyone cheered that mosquito be punished. So mosquito flew away and until this day, mosquitos fly to people’s ears and ask “Zeeee! Is everyone still angry at me?”, to which they get the answer of being swatted by a human hand to its death.

Personal Reaction:
This picture book is wonderful. I enjoyed the reasoning behind why mosquitoes buzz in peoples ears. For a child's story I did think it was sad to read about the owlet dying. However, the overall story needed a huge reason why the owl wouldn't want to do her job of waking the sun.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. We could paint with watercolors and masking tape to create a likeness of the illustrations in the book.

2. We could learn about mosquitoes.(life cycle, habitat)

3. We can learn about West African culture. ( )
  Amahoney1114 | Sep 11, 2016 |
I like this folk tale much better than the previous award winning folk tale I read. The use of figurative language is wonderful. The characters are funny and the ending made me giggle. The repetitive elements at the council meeting make this a fun book to read with younger students. ( )
  kblackmar1 | Sep 11, 2016 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Verna Aardemaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dillon, DianeIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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For Marcia VanDuinen who heard this story first
First words
One morning a mosquito saw an iguana drinking at a waterhole.
Is everyone still mad at me?
Mosquito told me such a big lie, I couldn't bear to listen to it. So I put sticks in my ears.
I'd rather be deaf than listen to such nonsense!
It was the mosquito's fault
The mosquito said, "I saw a farmer digging yams that were almost as big as I am."
"What's a mosquito compared to a yam?" snapped the iguana grumpily.
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Book description
This West African pourquoi tale explains why mosquitoes buzz in people's ears. It all starts with Mosquito telling a lie to Iguana. Tired of listening to Mosquito, Iguana puts twigs in his own ears. When Python tries to talk to Iguana and Iguana doesn't respond to him, it sets off a chain of events that leads to the sun not rising in the morning. King Lion must learn the story of the events leading back to Mosquito's lie in order to get Mother Owl to call the sun. The story is enhanced by beautiful Caldecott winning illustrations.

If you enjoyed this story, try "Ahanti to Zulu: African Traditions".
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Reveals the meaning of the mosquito's buzz.

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